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Lost hiker ‘in serious danger’ rescued safely from North Shore backcountry

A tricky rescue on Halloween becomes a real treat for a lost hiker
A man in his twenties spent a cold night on Cypress Mountain. Fortunately, Nadia Stewart was there when he was airlifted to safety.

Search and rescue crews have located a hiker who was lost in the mountains over Lions Bay since Wednesday evening.

Lions Bay Search and Rescue search manager Martin Colwell said the man, identified as Zheng-hui “Tom” Tang and to be 24 or 25, had split up from his female hiking partner on Wednesday, but never arrived at their rendezvous.

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The last known contact he made was a call from his cell phone at around 8:30 p.m.

“They parted company at Mt. Unnecessary and the plan was he would continue to the west Lion and on to Cypress Bowl and she would return to Lions Bay and pick him up at Cypress Bowl,” she said.

Colwell said the man was not well prepared for the conditions, with no backpack, food or extra supplies, and his cellphone battery was dead.

READ MORE: ‘I just stomped out SOS’ — Alberta hiker saved by B.C. remote satellite camera technology

Speaking shortly after his rescue, Tang said at one point he wasn’t sure how his adventure was going to end.

“I just felt like I was going to die,” he said. “I was just keeping my feet and hands warm.”

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Tang said he had been to the area before, but he found it difficult to recognize where he was going at one point.

“There were snow covers along the routes and I just got mistake and I just gone the wrong way,” he said.

Colwell said Tang nearly made it to Cypress Bowl before ending up in a drainage. He then kept on moving, which is not what crews recommend.

“When they keep moving then you’re not even sure you’re at the right place because he may have moved away from you while you’re moving towards them and so you have no new information,” Colwell said.

READ MORE: Lost hiker rescued from Crown Mountain after overnight ordeal

In the end, Tang made his way down a ravine to a logging road, where he was spotted by a work crew.

Crews scoured the trails in the area on Wednesday evening, and despite speaking with other hikers and campers in the area, found no trace of Tang.

Earlier Thursday, Colwell said he thought the man may have slipped and fallen off of one of the trails.

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Searchers used a helicopter from Talon Helicopters the RCMP’s Air 1, both of which are equipped with infrared sensing gear.

Lions Bay Search and Rescue was assisted by crews from Mission, Squamish, Surrey and the North Shore, with over 40 searchers spreading out in the field.

Colwell said finding Tang was critical due to concerns over hypothermia and injury from a fall.

He said the rescue provided a happy ending to an important teaching moment.

“Stay put, stay where you are,” he said. “He’s very, very lucky.”

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